It's 2021 and we are all still navigating schooling and work and play in a new light. What a change! You are probably like me and UP to your elbows in trying to manage household chores, a job, and now your kids’ education!
I’m not gonna lie, it’s not easy, but I have found that with a good organizational strategy (we do love to plan!) it is possible. I have four kiddos myself (three that are in school), a job, chronic health issues (read here to learn more about my story), a whole household to manage - But! A joyful outlook and a very supportive husband to make it all not so doom and gloom.
And it shouldn’t be doom and gloom for you either! Distance learning, Zoom, online portals, and a zillion logins to remember! All you need is a solid plan and everything else will just flow. From one momma to another, we’ve got this!
Here are some tips I have discovered that make our lives run MUCH smoother, and a few things that keep us not only sane but happy!
You need a schedule! Baking a cake isn’t just dumping all the ingredients in together and throwing it into the oven until it *looks ok*. There’s a method involved. Managing your household in this same way as you would follow a recipe is a great place to start. Each Sunday evening we create a weekly calendar that I keep on the fridge door. I like to fill in the generally known plan. This includes school times, calls, working hours and appointments, mealtimes, and hanging out as a family (I try to list a fun activity to look forward to). And of course chores! We do our short "jobs" of daily chores just after dinner to get the house back into shape before bed. I assign our weekly jobs at our family meeting each week and serve dessert.....it's something we can all look forward to.
Pro Tip: I'll print out one of these ? per person and put them up so we all know who has what on their plate that week!
It is very important that everyone speaks up and communicates together. You HAVE to communicate how much time you need to work so you can discuss WHEN you can work. Your hubby needs to do that too. If I know what tasks my husband needs to get accomplished for work and he knows mine, then we can help each other prioritize that time. It's so helpful when we are both on the same page. I keep a whiteboard in the hallway with a list of tasks I want to complete and if they need to be done on a certain day. Sunday evening we have a family meeting and do a quick overview of the week so that we are all working together as a team. Ask each kiddo what they hope to see on the schedule for themself for the week and see if you can work that in. This week Nora has asked for an hour to study slides under her microscope, so I will do my best to make sure that happens for her.
Everyone NEEDS to respect each other’s schedule and goals. If it’s on the schedule that Verity has a writing class via Zoom, then no one is to bother her during that time. Just like when I come into our room to write this post, my kids know that they need to wait until I come out to ask me questions or show me something - unless there is a real emergency! Respecting each other’s space is so important while we are all literally living on top of each other. Which brings me to...
Everyone needs their space. If you are working from home, take it from me, you will not be productive working off the dining room table. You will be distracted by the mess slowly building up from everyone being home during the day, and distracted by kids trying to get your attention. Yes, momma’s at home, but momma’s working now. Having space where I can spread out with my day planner and my notebook is important for my brain. Depending on your home you can work from your basement, your attic, or the corner of your bedroom if you don’t already have a home office or study. I use the vanity in my bedroom. I keep all of my "office supplies" in a basket under the vanity and I can get them out and put them away when I need them. My husband has an office in our home. We designated a bedroom to his office and it is wonderful. He can close the door and take calls or my kids can use that to take a quiz or work on a math assignment that requires a little more quiet. You know your family and your kids. You know what might be helpful. Experiment and try out different situations to see what works for you.
#5 Have FUN
You don’t have to treat homeschooling and working from home as a military operation. Test out different schedules and routines. Test out using the alarm feature on your phone with a silly alarm. Don’t push out the possibility of having FUN! Turn your living room into a fortress for reading and audiobooks, build a rollercoaster with Legos, keep a joke book or silly poem book on the kitchen table. There should ALWAYS be room for spontaneity.